Commission calls for calm after May Day protest
The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has called for restraint from all sides after a May Day rally ended in violent confrontations.
The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has called for restraint from all sides after a May Day rally ended in violent confrontations between protestors and police.
Local media outlet Minivan News reported that over 20,000 opposition supporters took to the streets on 1 May 2015 to protest the imprisonment of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim.
The HRCM said in a statement that the protest started in a peaceful manner.
However, "protestors started to use derogatory language and called for physical harm to persons and when protestors headed towards the Islamic Center for Maghrib prayers, the roads leading to the area were barricaded, resulting in confrontations and the use of pepper spray and tear gas".
The HRCM reported that protestors threw water bottles and rocks at the police and that a vehicle used by protestors was driven into the barricades in a manner that could have resulted in civilian and police casualties.
"The Commission also notes that a police officer was badly beaten and that protestors threw bottles and rocks targeted at specific police officers."
Nearly 200 protestors were arrested and scores were injured, including two police officers, Minivan News reported.
"The Commission was unable to conduct a quick assessment to ascertain the status of arrestees and those who were injured, due to not being able to gain access to the arrestees inside the Police Headquarters," the HRCM's statement said.
"Furthermore, the Commission received reports that reporters were obstructed from covering the protest, that reporters sustained injuries from the police and that news media were discriminated [against].
"At this crucial time, the Commission calls upon all concerned parties to give priority to peace and national interest and in establishing law and order."
Date: 5 May 2015
- Protest - Dying Regime, Flickr Creative Commons